Automation in airports could reduce long lines and backed-up security checks.
- More travelers are choosing to fly and more are getting stuck in long lines at the airport, causing them to miss flights. New automation could be the solution.
- Some airports are considering replacing shuttles with driverless vehicles, biometric check-in options, automated TSA screenings, and biometric boarding procedures.
- Technology capable of standing in for airport workers could cause some employees to lose jobs, but the benefit could alleviate stress on overworked employees and help passengers enjoy a less stressful trip.
Why it’s news
Automation is already one option to address the ongoing labor shortage. Now it can be the solution to airport woes.
From 2016 to 2019, U.S. airline passengers increased by more than 10%. Just last year, one in every seven passengers missed their flight due to long lines and delays.
Missing a flight isn’t just an inconvenience, for many it can delay business efforts, mean missed time with family, or add unnecessary stress to travel.
When arriving or departing from the airport, finding an available vehicle can be a challenge. Backed up pick-up and drop-off zones can cause delays for passengers trying to catch a flight.
The Denver International Airport has implemented a driverless shuttle bus to try cutting down on airport traffic.
Check-in counters are another commonly congested airport location. Currently, airport staff are needed to confirm the identity of passengers as they drop off their luggage. Using facial recognition technology, biometric check-in screens could fully automate the process.
Delta recently announced the introduction of this technology in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The company has plans to install the same system in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Using similar facial recognition technology, airports may be able to cut down on boarding wait times.
Any frequent flier can testify to notoriously long lines at security checkpoints. Current TSA technology could expedite the process by more accurately detecting banned items like firearms, knives, explosives, or lithium ion batteries.
What’s not being said
Job loss during automation is often a concern, but automation in this instance could potentially prevent employee turnover.
Like many industries, the TSA is currently experiencing labor shortages and high employee turnover, in part caused by overworked employees.
Automation could help employees more easily handle the heavy workload.